Monday, October 1, 2007


Representative John Dingell of Michigan wants to tax carbon dioxide emissions.

According to Dingell, “The earth is getting warmer and human activities are a large part of the cause. We need to act in order to prevent a serious problem. The world’s best scientists agree we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60-80 percent by 2050 in order to limit the effects of global warming and this legislation will put us on track to do just that.”

His proposed Carbon Tax bill, in addition to taxing emissions and gasoline (on top of the current gas tax), also reduces, and eventually phases out, the itemized deduction for mortgage interest on houses over 3000 square feet.

“These homes have contributed to increased sprawl and longer commutes. Despite new homes in and of themselves being more energy efficient, the sheer size, sprawl and commutes lead to dramatically more energy use – or to put it more simply, a larger carbon footprint"

The mortgage interest deduction would be limited as follows:

· 85 percent of mortgage interest for homes 3,000-to-3,199 square feet
· 70 percent of mortgage interest for homes 3,200-to-3,399 square feet
· 55 percent of mortgage interest for homes 3,400-to-3,599 square feet
· 40 percent of mortgage interest for homes 3,600-to-3,799 square feet
· 25 percent of mortgage interest for homes 3,800-to-3,999 square feet
· 10 percent of mortgage interest for homes 4,000-to-4,199 square feet
· 0 percent of mortgage interest for homes 4200 square feet and up

Historical homes (those built prior to 1900) and farm houses would be exempt from the phase-out. Homeowners also could get exemptions if they purchase carbon offsets to make their homes carbon neutral or own homes that are certified carbon neutral.

Dingell estimates that 10 percent of homeowners would be affected by the proposed mortgage interest deduction changes, although recent surveys suggest the number is much higher.

The money raised by this Carbon Tax bill would be used as follows:

· Expand the Earned Income Credit (to help lower income families compensate for the increased taxes on fuels),

· Benefit the high way trust fund and the airport and airway trust fund, and

· Fund Medicare and Social Security, universal health care programs, the state Children’s Health Insurance Program, conservation, renewable energy research and development, and the low income Home Energy Assistance Program

So what do you think about all this? It’s not me asking – it is Dingell himself. You can submit your comments on his proposals here.

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